apple pie

Writer’s block is not fun.

I have plenty of other ways to procrastinate, I don’t have to blog.

Some options include:

Sow seeds (in life and in the ground).

Organise possibility of being a lead tenant for Youth For Christ next year.

Organise possibly extending my trip to Perth so I can hang out with Peace Tree. (and visit Georgia and Dave?)

Study for my quiz tomorrow.

Make more chocolate muffins for September Camp.

Upload my study questions for Sep Camp.

Go for a walk. Or a run. Or do some yoga. Or some other kind of physical exercise to not. stress. out. Because I have this essay I keep procrastinating from doing.

So yeah, I wrote up a complete running sheet for the last few days before camp. I have an illness. I have lists upon lists and I HAVEN’T STARTED MY ESSAY YET (Mum and Dad, just forget you read that, yeah?)

It’s ok, I planned time to write the essay. It’s gonna happen. I haven’t got a back up plan so it HAS to happen (hopefully with little to no effort on my part.)

Besides, I have apple pie to calm my nerves.

Technically, it’s apple and pear pie. I got fruit from the farmer’s market on the weekend because it’s almost not apple and pear season anymore and I wanted pie. I love pie.

And thanks to Pam’s Pie Tutorial courtesy of The Pioneer Woman (thank you, Ree!) I made a perfect pie. I’m not kidding. It tastes amazing, it was perfectly cooked, it looks incredible and it’s just as good cold as hot.

I know. I’ve already had more than I need.

Apple and Pear Pie (two crust)

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Pam says that pie making is not a recipe, it’s an approach. It’s about the technique. So while this is a recipe, it’s a very loose one. Play around. Enjoy. Make pie.

2 1/2 cups flour (plain or pastry)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

250g butter, cold, cut into chunks

1/4 cup ice water

about 6 cups (8 pieces of fruit) fruit, peeled and chopped (if needed)

1/2 cup (more if needed) sugar

2 tbsp cornflour or other thickener

juice of one lemon

2 tsp cinnamon

pinch ground cloves

pinch nutmeg (more than cloves)

Pulse 2 cups flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs (alternatively, whisk together dry ingredients and use fingertips to rub in butter.) Pulse in 1/2 cup flour (just) and place in a bowl or on your counter. Sprinkle water over, knead in and form into two discs.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius.

Stir together fruit, lemon juice, thickener and spices. Make sure all the fruit pieces are even and that the mixture coats each piece.

Now, to roll out the dough, take two pieces of parchment paper (or baking paper) and place a dough disk in between them. Roll out to fit your pie pan (this recipe makes enough for one two crust nine inch pie). Place one rolled out disc into the bottom of your pie dish and prick all over with a fork.

Place the fruit in the dish and dot with butter (about four or five tablespoons). Cover with the other half of the dough, rolled out. Crimp the edges however you like and slit the top a few times. (You may choose, as I did, to decorate the top with the scraps of dough left over.) Brush with a beaten egg or some heavy cream.

Bake at 250º for about half an hour, until nicely browned on top. Cover with foil to stop browning and lower heat to 200 degrees for anywhere from 1/2 hour to 40 minutes – apples will need longer, berries will need less.

Let rest for about ten to twenty minutes on the counter before you eat with heavy cream or ice cream.

simplicity pears

In a time when I’m inundated with stuff to do (my to do lists are numerous and scarily interconnected, like one to do list spawns another and another. For example, Uni stuff. Then, Study and Work On Assignments. Then, I work unit by unit, prioritising by when I’m going to have that class or when that particular assessment is due, counterbalanced by what’s easiest or more fun. And we move on to my other to do stuff, long term and short term – I make lists when I’m stressed. And some of those lists may have to do with 1) why I’m stressed and 2) what I can do [will do, should do] to become destressed.) I can’t believe I digressed so easily already, so when I have so much stuff to do, I want to bake and I want to cook and I want to write for you (and for me, it’s more about me than you at this moment in time, sorry) SO MANY PARENTHESES, I’M SORRY! when I do cook it kinda has to be simple.

Enter vanilla baked pears. Not bears, I’m vegetarian, I’ve had this space for seven months and I still get asked if I’d like some baked bears, no thank you unless they’re tiny teddies.

Wow, I am so distracted. So, the lowdown is, make these. Pears are in abundance because it’s still winter (and aggressively so, it’s freezing!) so you can buy them and they won’t be too expensive. You don’t have to do much – peel, cut, and place the pears in a roasting dish.

Rub vanilla extract or the insides of half a vanilla bean in sugar. Sprinkle it over with lemon juice and water. Dot with butter.

Put in the oven for longer than I did. Eat with whipped cream, ice cream and lots and lots of pan juices. Feel better about everything.

Best Wishes!

Vanilla Baked Pears

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

I did not follow this recipe exactly, my pears were ripe rather than underripe, I should have left them in for longer, I had no vanilla beans. This was amazing anyway. So just do it.

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 600g which is probably about 6 slightly underripe pears, whatever kind, peeled, halved, cored

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp (approx) butter

Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius.

If you have the vanilla bean, scrape the insides out and rub them into the sugar, and use the sugar to scrub the vanilla bean itself and also the vanilla off your fingers. Mmm, vanilla sugar.

If not, just rub the vanilla extract into the sugar.

Place the pears, cut side up, into a baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar, dot with the butter, sprinkle with the lemon juice and water. Put the vanilla bean in the dish also, to make pear vanilla caramel juices (yum).

Bake about half an hour, basting every few minutes. Turn the pears over so the cut side is down and bake another about half hour, basting every now and then. Serve with whipped cream and/or ice cream.

Try not to burn your mouth when you wolf it down because it’s so delicious.